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Five Reasons The Chicago Blackhawks Lead The Series 2-1

By Gail Kauchak
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Apr 19, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) makes a save on Nashville Predators center

Colin Wilson

(33) during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Nashville Predators 4-2. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

2.  First Line. The first line for the playoffs so far has been Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Brandon Saad.  Need I say more?  So far in the series, this line has combined for 3 goals, 7 assists, and 27 shots on goal.

Jonathan Toews looked great in the first game, with a power play goal to tie the game at 3 apiece.  He also tallied 2 helpers.

Marian Hossa looked awesome in the third game.   He was a huge presence from the beginning of the game to the end, doing all those little things right.   He assisted on Desjardins goal, and provided a beautiful set up for another Toews goal.

Brandon Saad stole the puck and used his speed to get a breakaway goal and make it 3-2 in Game 3.

Predators defenseman Shea Weber is usually tasked with shutting down this top line, but he is out with an injury, and these guys are taking full advantage.  It’s pretty hard to hold these guys down.  Keep it up boys!

1.  Scott Darling. Our very own Chewbacca came in to relieve Corey Crawford in Game 1 after he let in 3 goals in 12 shots during the first period.  Darling then proceeded to allow no more goals and make 42 saves in the next 72 minutes, including double overtime play.

Crawford got the nod for Game 2, but he didn’t get it done.  “The wheels came off”, as he himself put it, in the third period, as he let in 3 goals in a matter of 2:19 minutes.

So who should be in net for Game 3?  The social media world went crazy with their opinions and predictions, but for me Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun Times put it best.  He tweeted the goals that Corey Crawford has allowed in his last 8 playoff games are 5, 4, 4, 4, 3, 5, 3, 6.  That’s a lot of goals.

It must have been a very tough decision to go with Scott Darling in Game 3, but this is what Coach Q and his staff decided to do.   That’s a pretty bold statement, to bench your 6 million dollar goalie, the number 1 guy all year, and go with the rookie.

But that’s what they did.  And it paid off, as Darling had a great night, allowing only 2 goals on 37 attempts, for a .946 save percentage.  Great job under pressure Chewie!  My guess is that Q will stick with the hot hand for Tuesday’s Game 4.

Hopefully the Chicago Blackhawks can keep all these good things going, win 2 more games, and put Round 1 behind them.  Oh, and did you notice I didn’t even talk about Patrick Kane in this article?  That won’t last long.

On a final note, my husband was distracted and missed all four of the Hawks goals on Sunday afternoon.  He is officially bad luck, and can only watch the replays.  Poor guy.  All in the name of the Cup!

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